Sleeping without proper support can ruin a night’s sleep and leave you tired and in pain. The right pillow can make all the difference. “[Pillows] can help you maintain a neutral alignment, which reduces stress on your joints,” says Kristen Wilson, a physical therapist in Philadelphia.
What type of pillow and how you use it depends on where your body needs the extra support, but it may take some trial and error, says Wilson. “When trying a new pillow or position, give it two or three nights to see if it helps.”
Protect your joints with these tips.
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If you sleep on your back, a too-thick pillow puts your neck at an awkward angle. Choose a thin pillow and keep your neck parallel to the mattress. If you snooze on your side, choose a firm pillow that keeps your neck in line with your spine. “In general, a synthetic pillow offers more support than a soft down one,” says Wilson. Stomach sleepers should position their pillows so their neck is as straight as possible.
If you’re a side sleeper, place a thick pillow in front of your body and rest your top arm on it. This prevents that arm from draping down, putting pressure on the shoulder joint, says Wilson. Back sleepers can put a thinner pillow across their belly and let their arms